July/August Table of Contents
Cover Story: Pressgate
By Steven Brill
The Monica Lewinsky allegations have been called the worst national scandal since Watergate, but the real scandal may be the way the news media has covered the story -- or, in too many cases, created it. This is the first day-by-day, story-by-story deconstruction of how the year's biggest news event spun out of control, to the point where facts were lost in the flurry to be first, and reporters abandoned the rules and the truth.
By Ted Rose
They're coming to get you: The life of the television "booker" is arduous, fast-paced, and crucial to the ratings and reputations of the news networks and TV magazines. Invisible to the viewer at home, bookers are the key link in the "get" -- the live interviews of a story's most important subjects. Here's how they do their work. Plus: Howard Kurtz examines the 60 Minutes exclusive interview of Kathleen Willey, a "get" that was gotten too fast and loose.
Also: The Nanny Pleadings
How The New York Times Nailed a Health-Care Giant
By Roger Parloff
Over a decade, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. was built from scratch into the country's largest hospital chain, judged the most admired by investors and industry peers. Then, in an example of journalism at its best, a team of determined reporters from The New York Times (armed with millions of database records) spent 17 months uncovering just how Columbia had achieved its growth. What they found was an unhealthy corporate culture, one that their 1997 series helped expose and ultimately change.
Media Diet: Heard, Seen, and Gleaned on the Street
By David McClintick
More than ever, the average investor is deluged by the massive flow of business information, from the mainstream press to specialized reports. Michael Steinberg is no average investor. This money manager and Ginny Clark, his top stock trader, have achieved superior returns by carefully filtering their media intake.
Gatekeepers: The Power Behind the Stacks
By Rifka Rosenwein
Robert Wietrak, the chief book buyer for Barnes & Noble's superstores, doesn't seem the publishing-mogul type. But as the book-retailing industry consolidates, Wietrak's influence grows, and publishers eagerly seek his favor. A nod from him -- plus a helpful donation to the chain's promotional budget -- can determine an author's fate.
COLUMNS AND DEPARTMENTS
Letter from the Editor
Letter from the Ombudsman
By Bill Kovach
Inside Brill's Content
By Michael Kramer
By Steven Brill
Why does the public distrust the press? Ask Sen. Robert Byrd, whose letter to The Washington Post pointed out serious errors in a wire-service article about him. No one at the paper cared.
Between the Lines
By Michael Kramer
When Boris Yeltsin fired his cabinet, every reporter had an explanation, yet no one told the truth: They really didn't know much of anything.
Also: Two Bosses: One M.O.
By Greg Farrell
In 1986, 60 Minutes did a classic exposé of Audi's "sudden acceleration" problem. Audi sales crashed afterward. But the flaw was in the show, not the car.
By Elizabeth Lesly Stevens
The Beardstown Ladies made great copy -- and sold hundreds of thousands of books -- based on their financial wizardry. Then Shane Tritsch did the math.
Also: Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel's Bernard Goldberg, Brandweek's Daniel Forbes, and Baseball Weekly's Pete Williams.
The Wry Side
By Calvin Trillin
Even though they can make millions of dollars nowadays, journalists are still a bit like party-crashers trying too hard to mix with polite society.
The Money Press
By James Cramer
When Alan Greenspan speaks, one reporter listens hard and then interprets accurately what the Federal Reserve chairman is saying.
By D.M. Osborne
A distraught man commits suicide on a Los Angeles freeway -- captured live by local newscasts while kids watched. Here's what the news directors did.
By Rachel Taylor
A suit against YM magazine over pictures in an advice column has raised broader questions about how such teen publications compose their reader letters.
By Rachel Lehmann-Haupt
David Talbot, a former newspaper editor, went on-line and created Salon, a magazine that has won readers and plaudits. Now he has to make it profitable.
By Reed Hundt and Blair Levin
Consumers are wondering when the wonders of digital television will arrive in their homes. The FCC's former chairman and chief of staff explain the long-running industry battles behind the delay.
By Rachel Taylor
Coming soon to a classroom in your child's school: The media literacy movement is starting to take hold in the U.S., pushing a new form of culture studies.
Also: Coke's Kids Blitz
By George Clooney
The writer, son of a TV anchor, argues that a line needs to be drawn in the electronic sand between legitimate news and mere entertainment.
From the return of Gothic entertainment to civil rights to the downside of life as a high tech worker: a trio of books that deserve wider reading.
A checkup of the educational degrees of 13 medical and science reporters.
What the media stars make on the lecture circuit, and what those in the trenches get.
Our running data base of facts and figures.
Making Up The Truth
The fashion and beauty industry's open secret -- magazines fabricate their cosmetics credits.
Money's Morning TV Moves
News Media and Coverage
How local TV news recycles its sexiest stories.
Network Clutter in Prime Time
Fun, Fearless Family Member
From the Archives of Fortune Magazine
Neilsen's Fallible System
The Terms of the Trade
Who's On First
Fact and Fiction:
Slipping Past The Fact Checkers
How magazines do and do not check their stories.
What Did Random House Cost Bertelsmann?
Because It's There, Sort Of
The Difference Is Radio
Taking Dictation From A Dictator
Sites purporting to bring you the best of the Web are increasingly bringing you paid advertising masquerading as quality content.
Also: The Web's Prime Real Estate
Where News Values Still Count
Yahoo's "Full Coverage" picks the Web's best news sites, without an eye to profit.
English Spoke Here Is
On-line discount brokers with blue-chip analysis.
The End of the Official Story
Esther Dyson on the futility of propaganda on the Net.
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